Intelligent leaders strive to create positive, safe cultures in their organizations by instilling fundamental leadership qualities in teams. These qualities include emotional intelligence, self-awareness, accountability, and empowerment. In addition to facilitating individual successes, such skills also boost productivity for the benefit of entire organizations.

Intelligent leaders lead by example. They exhibit the behaviors and qualities they want to see emulated throughout their organizations. What are the qualities most likely to contribute to the success of teams and organizations?

As a leadership coaching professional, I am aware that the purpose of leadership is relatively simple. Successful leaders help their teams focus on goals and stay motivated enough to achieve it. They also create ample opportunities for employees to fulfill their potential.

In many ways, leaders act like coaches. 

A positive, vibrant organizational culture creates psychological safety for employees and endows them with the qualities that allow them to be successful.

1. Facilitating Open, Honest, and Safe Communication

Effective communication is a centerpiece of intelligent leadership. Successful leaders create work environments that encourage honesty and openness in communication. Intelligent leaders are proactive about engaging in dialogue. They ask their reports to provide feedback, detail their views, and communicate real or perceived obstacles in their paths.

Intelligent leaders are always open to discussion with employees.

2. Setting Up Collaborative Goals

Clearly articulating and defining goals is one of the hallmarks of intelligent leadership. Leadership coaching always stresses the significance of defining goals and communicating them clearly to those expected to achieve them. In my leadership coaching books and blog posts, I have pushed this matter a little further, insisting on the importance of planning and defining goals together.

By getting the team together to define goals, leaders can achieve the following:

  • Get teams to buy into the goals by offering them psychological ownership
  • Get everyone aligned on what success should look like
  • Define milestones and key performance indicators from the beginning
  • Assure the team of their unwavering support from the onset

3. Emotional Intelligence

Along with self-awareness, emotional intelligence is a cornerstone of intelligent leadership. Emotional leadership is one of the key components of the outer-core leadership competencies I have defined as part of my Wheel of Intelligent Leadership.

Developing the self-awareness and emotional intelligence of your high-potential employees is a must. These leadership qualities can also benefit the entire workforce as they allow leaders to instill cultures focused on leadership coaching in their organizations.

4. Expressing Gratitude to Others

Intelligent leaders are sensitive to the undertones of success celebrations and understand their significance.

Gratitude and appreciation can earn handsome dividends. 

Milestones offer great opportunities for celebrating successes. Next to adversity, revelry is the best way to bring people together and establish meaningful, lasting connections.

Good leaders are never reluctant to praise deserving team members or teams. Success stories can be sources of inspiration for the rest of the group.

5. Empowering Others

Empowered team members are more likely to facilitate empowerment among their ranks. By letting team members come up with solutions, leaders let them assume deep psychological ownership of common goals. Empowered employees engaged in decision making develop skills that can help them make the right choices in fast-paced, stressful environments.

Empowerment also facilitates creative thinking and helps people develop confidence.

6. Delegating

To scale their leadership impacts, leaders must learn to delegate tasks to those with the right skills.

Delegation skills can help teams get work done faster and better. Business coaching professionals insist on developing their students’ delegation skills, but these skills are not just for executives. Through effective delegation, employees of every level can contribute to streamlining and optimizing workflows.

7. Accountability

Leaders understand how important it is to assume responsibility for their actions. Accountability builds trust, an ingredient that allows meaningful relationships to sprout.

A sense of responsibility permeating the workforce is a powerful facilitator of organizational success.

Intelligent leaders value genuine engagement with their teams. They respect employees and aim to facilitate their successes. By instilling these qualities in their employees, leaders boost individual successes and the success of organizations.


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